Benefits Over Risks

Tomorrow's Exercise Leaders Shine at the IDEA World Fitness Convention Preconference Sessions

I've been teaching indoor cycling classes for about 3 years, and yoga for almost 2 years. I'm okay for an introverted ex-theater major who has been writing and editing articles about fitness instructor skills for more than a decade. Some of the education has rubbed off on me and I can show up pretty well when I'm in the flow, feeling confident. I've always admired the many presenters who share their skills and knowledge at IDEA's events, but now that I have a little teaching experience under my belt, I admire them even more.

One thing is for sure: you never stop learning. If you ever believe you've "made it," then you're likely going to run into some challenges. I learned many new things today as I made the rounds at the IDEA World Fitness Convention preconference sessions. This educational appetizer kicked off what's sure to be an electric weekend here in Los Angeles.

Group exercise has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Once upon a time the front row participants were mentored by the existing teachers and then organizations like IDEA helped keep the party going. However, there were far fewer formats to teach 30 years ago; today it's impossible to keep up with them all. Many teachers aren't certified or only have a "certification" in one branded format that keeps them boxed in to one method of moving and cuing.

Thank goodness for Lawrence Biscontini and Keli Roberts, two consummate professionals who know exercise science--and how to apply it--better than most. Biscontini led attendees through a deeper understanding of movement science in the ACE Group Exercise Leadership Specialty Certification, and Roberts interjected with her own deep wisdom (what a bonus for these participants!). The session was designed to supplement the expertise of instructors who are currently teaching prechoreographed programs. The main message: benefits over risks.

"Exercises are safe or risky, not good or bad," said Biscontini as he explained different body postures and positions in his entertaining and enlightening manner. "There is always a gray area in group fitness; don't just go to black or white."

What struck me about Biscontini's presentation--and I have seen him many, many times--is that the knowledge flows out of him like a spring. He embodies it and brings it forth in various ways that keep you engaged and interested. I don't think I noticed it before because I had yet to stand in front of a group of people to teach them. Now that I have that experience, I understand how hard it can be and I admire him and all the other IDEA presenters even more.

And that is why we are all here--to learn, to grow and to have fun.

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